OTD: Damon Allen becomes CFL’s all-time leading passer

On today’s date in the year 2000, BC Lions quarterback Damon Allen broke Ron Lancaster’s all-time CFL pass yardage record of 50,535 yards during a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

After joining the CFL as a free agent in 1985, and winning his first Grey Cup two years later, Allen joined the BC Lions in 1996. In 1999, he was voted to the CFL’s West Division All-Star team. He threw for 4,219 yards on 315 of 521 passes with 22 touchdowns, and he ran the ball 136 times for 785 yards and eight touchdowns. He threw for more than 300 yards in a single game on five occasions that year.

The following year, on Oct. 28, Allen would become the league’s all-time leading passer, throwing for 345 yards to surpass Lancaster’s previous record. He completed 324 of 525 passes (61.7 per cent) to lead the CFL with a career-high 4,840 passing yards that year and, after winning his third Grey Cup, was nominated as the Lions’ Most Outstanding Player at the CFL Player Awards.

In 2003, the 39-year-old Allen was traded to the Toronto Argonauts. His Argos debut – a 20-18 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders – was also the 300th regular season game of his career.

That year, Allen also became the third quarterback in professional football history to pass for 60,000 yards; later in the season, he reached his 334th career touchdown pass, surpassing Lancaster again, this time for the most career touchdown passes in CFL history. Allen would lead the Argos to the Eastern Division Final to conclude the season.

After a 2004 Grey Cup victory – the fourth (and final) of his career – Allen was named Grey Cup Most Valuable Player for third time.

The following season, on Oct. 27, 2005, Allen reached 5,000 passing yards for the first time in his 21-year CFL career; however, the Argos would lose to the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup that year.

During the 2006 season, Allen broke Warren Moon’s 70,553-yard record to become professional football’s all-time passing leader.

Allen retired in 2008 with 72,381 passing yards; however,  Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo would surpass him three years later, on Oct. 10, 2011.

CANADIAN COMMEMORATION

In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint issued an eight-coin set to commemorate the 100th Grey Cup, which took place that year (the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders 35-22). As part of the set, each team – the Lions, Stampeders, Argonauts, Blue Bombers, Alouettes, Eskimos, Tiger-Cats and Roughriders – was commemorated on a 25-cent coin that was issued alongside a pair of stamps.

The 25-cent commemorative coin was issued alongside two commemorative stamps (left to right: Scott #2568 and #2569).

The 25-cent commemorative coin was issued alongside two commemorative stamps (left to right: Scott #2568 and #2569).

With a weight of 12.61 grams, the cupro-nickel coins have a 35-mm diameter and feature the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. Filip Mroz, of Bensimon Byrne, designed the reverse. The stamps issued with the coin (Scott #2568 and #2569, respectively), picture the Grey Cup dividing a retro CFL player to the left and a modern CFL player to the right, and former Lions’ kicker Lui Passaglia, who won his team the 1994 Grey Cup with a last-second field goal in from of hometown fans.

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